Marketing Strategy Outlook Report. What marketing success will look like in the year ahead, and how marketers plan to achieve it.

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1 Marketing Strategy Outlook Report What marketing success will look like in the year ahead, and how marketers plan to achieve it. 1

2 Marketing Strategy Outlook Report Table of Contents Introduction 3 What Marketing Success Will Look Like 4 How (Average) Marketers Plan to Achieve it 11 How Sales Channel Influences Strategies and Tactics 17 How Company Size Influences Strategies and Tactics 24 Actionable Advice for Developing a Superior Strategy 31 About Ascend2 33 2

3 Marketing Strategy Outlook Report Introduction To better understand what marketing success will look like in the year ahead and how marketers plan to achieve it, we surveyed 456 executives and marketing practitioners during the week of January 14, The comprehensive data produced by this survey has been condensed and segmented for relevance and ease of use. The result is actionable information you can use to compare your company s strategic and tactical performance and practices with companies in similar marketing situations. This report begins by distinguishing companies with superior strategies for accomplishing marketing objectives from those having inferior strategies. It concludes with actionable advice on using this research to develop a superior strategy, beginning with a SWOT analysis of your company s marketing program. This research content has been produced for your use. A PowerPoint version is available so you can copy and paste the charts into your own strategy planning and presentation materials, blog content and social media posts. Download the PowerPoint version at Sergio Balegno Chief Strategy Officer Ascend2

4 What Marketing Success Will Look Like 4

5 The difference between a Superior Strategy and an Inferior Strategy is effectiveness To determine what marketing success will look like in the year ahead, we needed to identify the most successful marketing organizations responding to this survey. Performance criteria, based on the effectiveness of marketing to accomplish objectives, is used to differentiate between companies with a Superior Strategy and those with an Inferior Strategy. The highest performers (21% of respondents rated Very Effective) are identified in the following pages of this section as having a Superior Strategy. The lowest performers (11% of respondents rated Somewhat or Very Ineffective) are identified as having an Inferior Strategy. In the charts that follow, the disparity between the objectives, challenges and tactics of those companies with a Superior Strategy and their Inferior Strategy counterparts is clear. These benchmarks are provided to show you what marketing success will look like, and how those companies with a Superior Strategy plan to achieve it. 5

6 Optimizing the conversion rate of leads is the number one objective of a Superior Strategy 6

7 Limited marketing budgets and staff are the most challenging obstacles to overcome 7

8 Measurement of traffic, leads and their rate of conversion are Superior Strategy requirements 8

9 Following , the inbound tactics of content creation and organic search top effectiveness 9

10 While content creation is the second most effective tactic, it is the most difficult to execute 10

11 How (Average) Marketers Plan to Achieve it 11

12 Increasing lead conversions and lead quality top the average marketer s list of objectives The charts in this section reflect the average of all responses to the survey. While there is no such thing as an average company or marketing situation in real life, this data is useful for comparing the average response to other segments reported in this study.

13 Behind budget limitations, measuring marketing performance is the next obstacle to overcome 13

14 Website traffic continues to be the key metric to measure in today s web-centric marketing world 14

15 For the average marketer, outperforms all other outbound and inbound marketing tactics 15

16 Conversion rate optimization requires testing capabilities beyond that of the average marketer 16

17 How Sales Channel Influences Strategies and Tactics 17

18 Quantity and quality of business leads, and converting consumer leads are top objectives A key difference between sales channels is the length and complexity of purchase decisions. Businesses often have long, complex cycles involving a number of decision-makers and influencers, while consumer decisions are often routine and made by an individual. An alternative chart legend could be complex sale versus direct sale.

19 B2B and B2C marketers agree, a limited budget is the most challenging obstacle to overcome 19

20 Awareness is a key objective but the least often measured by both B2B and B2C marketers 20

21 The greatest disparity in effectiveness between channels is content, lead management and PPC 21

22 Social media is most difficult for B2C channel, and both channels find CRO difficult to execute 22

23 B2C companies are more likely to rate their marketing efforts very effective than are B2B 23

24 How Company Size Influences Strategies and Tactics 24

25 For small companies, the goal is lead volume while medium companies focus on ROI and CRO The charts in this section segment responses by company size: Small Co. (Fewer than 100 employees), Medium Co. (100 to 1,000 employees) and Large Co. (More than 1,000 employees). Agility is often a distinguishing factor in marketing strategies. The smaller the company, the more agile and able to quickly adapt to changes.

26 Marketing/sales alignment and gauging performance are most challenging obstacles for large companies 26

27 While small companies are measuring traffic, large companies are analyzing retention metrics 27

28 Mobile s bottom ranking will rise as the adoption of mobile marketing tactics and best practices increases 28

29 Social media, CRO and content creation top the tactical difficulty chart for companies of all sizes 29

30 When it comes to marketing effectiveness, medium size companies are superior 30

31 Actionable Advice for Developing a Superior Strategy 31

32 A Superior Strategy is the goal, and developing one begins with a marketing SWOT analysis This research was conducted to help marketers develop a Superior Strategy for effectively achieving objectives. The process begins with a SWOT analysis of your company s marketing program by applying the questions asked in this survey, then comparing it to the SWOTs of applicable competitive segments (average shown below). Tactical Strategic Strengths Most Effective Tactics Used Marketing Content Creation Organic Search (SEO) Lead Management Social Media Marketing Opportunities Most Important Objectives to Achieve Increase quality of sales leads Increase lead conversion rate Improve awareness or reputation Increase quantity of sales leads Increase marketing ROI Weaknesses Most Difficult Tactics to Execute Conversion Rate Optimization Content Creation Social Media Marketing Marketing Analytics Lead Management Threats Most Challenging Obstacles to Overcome Marketing budget limitations Measuring marketing performance Marketing staff limitations Aligning marketing and sales Articulating a value proposition

33 Ascend2 makes it possible for business leaders to gain control over sales performance by creating a more reliable process for finding, qualifying and nurturing leads until they are sales-ready. By leveraging resources and technology you may already have, we help you succeed in the least amount of time, struggle and expense. To learn more, go to

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